State Rep. Drew Saunders has come out swinging in his Democratic primary against Nick Mackey.
"I have no desire to be a Policeman, Judge or Sheriff," Saunders wrote in a news release. "I am running for this office to represent the people of the district, not because I am mad that I cannot be Sheriff.
"My opponent has been held in contempt of court because he would not represent one person in the court room. If he did not represent one person in the heart of Charlotte, how can we expect him to represent 67,000 people while working out of the State Capitol in Raleigh?"
Mackey filed in Saunders' House District 99 Friday. In December he won a party election to fill a vacancy for sheriff, only to have the vote overturned after the state party found rules had been broken. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for district court judge.
In January, Mackey, a lawyer, was convicted of contempt of court after failing to show up for the client's December trial.
Mackey declined to respond to Saunders.
"I don't stoop to that kind of mudslinging so I don't have any comment," he said today. "I’m not going to be baited into some back-and-forth mudslinging with him. We’ll debate the issues and that's that."
Saunders, a six-term legislator, has never had a primary. He said today that he'll run an aggressive campaign.
"I need for (Mackey) to know that it’s going to be a race," he said. "I can’t lay down and give him my seat just because he’s disappointed he didn't get the sheriff’s race."
The winner faces Republican Dempsey Miller.